Canadian Heritage

Historical Vignettes

Archibald Fraser: an Innovative Spirit

Archibald Fraser, Donald Fraser's eldest son, was born on April 2, 1869 in Aberdeen, Scotland. He was four years old when the Fraser family arrived in New Brunswick. Having received a rather limited education, he, as well as his brother Donald Jr., became interested early on in the forest industry. In 1902, Archibald married Agnes Dunbar. They had two sons and a daughter. Agnes died at a young age, in 1911, the same year of the James Murchie and Son sawmill purchase in Edmundston, also a time of major expansion and change in New Brunswick's forest industry.6

As previously indicated, the needs of the market went from saw wood to pulp and paper. Many lumberjacks lost interest and turned to other sectors. Archibald was no expert in pulp and paper, but the experience he gained from a very young age, working in logging camps and sawmills would serve him well. In fact, he took an opposing stance to the tendency of the other sawmills, which would prove to be more than profitable for him and the company.

These changes marked the end of an era. Many men with sound judgement thought that the forest industry in the east was a thing of the past, but not Archibald Fraser. Where others would not be able to adapt to the changes of the twentieth Century, Fraser did. (...) The Fraser family increased operations until they became the leaders of the Maritimes' forest industry and the greatest example of industrial development in eastern Canada.7